From beyond the grave, Julia Child shows that print still matters
The late chef’s magnum opus, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” sold 22,000 copies in one week following release of the movie “Julie & Julia.” That is “more copies than were sold in any full year since the book’s appearance” nearly 48 years ago, according to the New York Times, citing the book’s publisher, Knopf.
The book also hit No. 1 at both Amazon and B&N.com earlier this month, and is racing up the charts at Publishers Weekly’s hardcover nonfiction best sellers.
i.e. People still read books!
Yes, I know how Twitter can drive events. The Tehran uprisings are a classic example. But predictions of the demise of print (as well as the power of an old-fashioned Hollywood movie) have been greatly exaggerated!
Think about it. Here we have a 752-page book that’s racing off the shelves, and the publicity for it has been driven exclusively by the film, as well as (I would argue) the stellar reviews it got, mostly in print newspapers and magazines. Could social media have resurrected “Mastering”? Maybe, but the book’s amazing comeback proves that the tried-and-true way of making things famous still holds a trick or two up its sleeve.
* * *
2009 Vintage could be great
The winter was very cold. Rainfall was low until Spring, when the skies opened up, making for near-normal precipitation. A hard frost hit statewide in mid-April, followed by a heat wave. May and June were rainy and cold, with June setting low temperature records. July was fairly average, and August has been mild. There were some excessive heat spikes in the usual hot places, like Paso Robles, but nothing that could spoil the vintage
Harvest began August 12, mainly for sparkling wine grapes and Sauvignon Blanc. Some vintners expressed concern about green flavors, due to the coolness. Monsoonal moistness in late August also raises the threat of mold, although this doesn’t appear to be a big problem. The big reds have yet to be picked, but 2009 could be a very good year for Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, provided that ripening proceeds steadily, with no major heat waves, and the rains hold off. With a weak El Nino effect in the Pacific, California, especially Southern California, could be in for higher-than-usual rains this Fall, but it’s too soon to tell. But overall, the pieces are in place for a good vintage: coolish weather, dry conditions during harvest (so far) and an absence of heat waves should enable ripeness without high alcohol.